SPOTLIGHT: COMPARING JOB VACANCIES WITH OTHER MEASURES OF LABOUR DEMAND
A vacant job is sometimes described as an 'empty seat' - where an employer is actively looking for someone to perform specific tasks; tasks that are both needed and would be underway if a suitable person had been identified and was available. As such, job vacancies are a key indicator of unmet labour demand and a leading indicator of employment.
Job vacancies data can be combined with employment, unemployment, labour force participation and hours worked information to understand the pace and direction of changes in the Australian labour market.
The ABS Job Vacancies Survey (JVS) is collected directly from a sample of employers, and includes all positions:
- available for immediate filling on the reference date;
- paid through the payroll of the selected business (e.g. excludes contractors);
- greater than 1 day's duration;
- available to external applicants (e.g. excludes those only available to existing employees and those only available to existing employees in the relevant public service); and
- where recruitment action has been taken. This includes advertising on-site or online (including within social media applications), notifying an employment agency or trade union, and contacting applicants already registered with the organisation.
Other, non-ABS measures use alternative concepts to capture information about job vacancies and are also widely used as leading indicators of employment. Prominent examples include the ANZ Job Advertisement Series, the SEEK Employment Report, and the Department of Education, Skills and Employment Internet Vacancy Index.
The specific and longstanding scope and definitions that underpin the ABS Job Vacancies Survey will result in data that differs from the counts of job advertisements – given its more holistic focus on vacancies. For example, JVS includes jobs that are only advertised within social media platforms, those not advertised online, and counts every position advertised within a single notice.
The sudden changes in the labour market, as a result of COVID-19, may lead to further changes in how employers undertake recruitment actions and how people search for jobs. These will continue to be captured by Job Vacancies Survey into the future.
For more information on the concept of job vacancies, and differences with job advertisements, refer to the Job Vacancies chapter of Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods
(cat. no. 6102.0.55.001), or email email@example.com.